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The N^amabai Association 

T{eport of the ^Annual [Meeting 


[March i6, i8g8. 





The Ramabai Association 

HELD MARCH 16, 1898 




OFFICERS F©R"li89i* 



JV„ ,,, 



Rev. E. W. DONALD, D.D. Rev. EDWARD E. HALE, D.D. 


Board of Trustees. 

Mr. ALPHEUS H. HARDY, C/iairman. 






Mr. E. hay ward FERRY, Secretary. 

Mr. E. HAYWARD FERRY, 222 Boylston Street, Boston, Mass. 

Executive Committee. 

Mrs. J. W. ANDREWS, C/mirman, 36 Rutland Square, Boston. 




Miss S. G. ANDREWS. 

Recording Secretary. 
Mrs. ELLIOTT RUSSELL, Trinity Court, Boston. 

Corresponding Secretary. 
Miss A. P. GRANGER, Canandaigua, N.Y. 

Principal of Sharada Sadan. 

*As the existing Association is to be dissolved, no officers were elected for 1898. 
t Deceased. 


The Ramabai Association held its Tenth Annual Meeting 
in Channing Hall, Boston, on March i6, 1898. The Presi- 
dent, Rev. Lyman Abbott, D.D., presided. The meeting 
was opened with prayer by Rev. Alexander McKenzie, D.D., 
of Cambridge. 

Dr. Abbott announced the order of business which had 
been determined upon, and asked for the reports of the sec- 

The records of the last annual meeting were read and 

The report of the Corresponding Secretary, Miss A. P. 
Granger, was read and accepted. 


In giving my final report of the various auxiliaries of the 
Ramabai Association, it seems well to review their work 
during the past eleven years, in order to learn how many 
friends have given through them, to the support of the 
Sharada^Sadan, with what fidelity the ten years' pledge has 
been kept, and what has most contributed to the success of 
the simple organization. With this in view, a series of 
questions was sent to each of the seventy-seven auxiliaries ; 
and sixty-seven have sent replies. From these replies, the 
Treasurer's figures, and my own previous records of mem- 
bership, an approximate statement can be made. 

It will be remembered that the pioneer in the movement 
was Cornell University, where, inspired by Ramabai's pres- 
ence, a large circle was formed, in the spring of 1887, 
before the Association was planned in Boston. The con- 

stitution drawn up by the Cornell circle, with a pledge 
making the annual payment of not less than one dollar for 
ten years essential to membership, was, with three excep- 
tions, adopted by later circles. From the time of its forma- 
tion until Ramabai sailed from San Francisco for India, in 
November, 1888, she lectured one hundred and thirteen 
times in behalf of the Association, in the United States and 
Canada, and left behind her fifty-five circles pledged to 
support her proposed school for high-caste child-widows. 
To these, twenty-seven more were soon added, including the 
Virginia Association, and the group of clusters and friends 
under the care of Mrs. G. N. Dana, of Boston, making 
eighty-two auxiliaries in all, — the direct result of the en- 
thusiasm and confidence inspired by her. Five of these 
lived only a year or two, but the remaining seventy-seven 
continued faithful to the end. They began with 3,650 
members, to which 708 were added, new members often 
replacing those removed by change of residence, reduced 
means, or death, making 4,358 in all. Of these, nearly 
two-thirds paid the pledge in full ; and most of the re- 
mainder missed but one or two payments. These eighty- 
two auxiliaries contributed $51,557.59 for annual support, 
and $8,892.13 for other purposes, — the school property, 
buildings, etc., — a total of $60,449.72. Reference to the 
Treasurer's report will show the Brooklyn circle as lead- 
ing among the contributors, with the Manorama circle of 
Philadelphia second, followed closely by those of Chicago, 
New York, Toronto, and Montreal. Of the Western circles, 
that of San Jose leads ; and, of those in colleges and schools, 
that of Cornell. 

The Virginia Association, now in its ninth year, under 
the care of Mrs. A. J. W. Hobson, its founder, and Mrs. 
Caroline Harrison, deserves special mention, for there a ten 
years' pledge of twenty-five cents only was required, so the 
amount reported by our Treasurer, $1,200.50, represents far 
more labor than it would ordinarily. It has had great diffi- 

culties to encounter, the chief perhaps being that the interest 
in Ramabai's work had to be created by others, since she 
herself did not go to Virginia ; but its founder knew Rama- 
bai, and, beUeving in her abiUty and Christianity, had cour- 
age to attempt it. 

Of the officers elected to take charge of the circles at the 
outset, seventy-three have held office through the whole ten 
years ; and to their zeal and fidelity the sustained interest 
is very largely due. May Ramabai's presence inspire them 
afresh ! 

Now as to the future : twenty of the seventy-seven aux- 
iliaries have disbanded, though individual members will con- 
tinue their subscriptions ; twelve are doubtful, their decision 
depending in many cases on the future policy of the school, 
while thirty-five have declared their intention to continue 
their support of the Sharada Sadan, though in many cases 
with reduced numbers and often preferring to make no 
pledge. Several, however, favor the pledge ; and some have 
already renewed it. Probably a few from the circles which 
have not reported will be added to the thirty-five that will 
certainly continue, for their interest is beyond question. 

Such are the prospects now for the future support of the 
Sharada Sadan ; but how will it be when Ramabai once more 
goes to the circles telling of the needs of her countrywomen, 
of the children she has already rescued from suffering, 
starvation, ignorance, and sin, and of the school itself, so 
well equipped, their gift in part to the work ? Will not the 
old enthusiasm rekindle and spread, old and many new 
friends rally to her, and, in the belief that she is surely one 
chosen of God to bring "light to them that sit in darkness," 
not only the support of the Sharada Sadan be assured, but 
also that of the new home for the children rescued by her 
from famine during the past year ? 

A. P. Granger, 

Corresponding Secretary of the Ramabai Association. 
Canandaigua, N.Y., March 9, 1898. 

The Treasurer, Mr. E. Hayward Ferry, presented the fol- 
lowing report, which was accepted, subject to audit : — 


For Year ending Feb. 28, 1898. 


Annual subscriptions, ^2,516.05 

Contributions to General Fund, 1,215.25 

Contributions to Building Fund, 10,00 

Contributions to Famine Fund, 124.00 

Scholarships, 500.00 ^4,365.30 

Interest on current accounts, $30.26 

Income (scholarships), 11 1.24 141.50 



Salaries and school expenses, $6,500.00 

Annual meeting, March 17, 1897, . . . . . 221.01 

Cables, 99-83 

Special repairs on school buildings, .... 978.50 

Rent of Safe Deposit Box, 10.00 

Stationery, postage, printing, and sundries, . . 440.02 $8,249.36 

Loss for the year, $3,742.56 

Balance on hand March i, 1897, 7,696.40 

Balance March i, 1898 (Bay State Trust Co.), . $3,953-84 



Annual Subscriptions, $49,584.10 

General Fund, 16,198.60 

Building Fund, 9,663.50 

Scholarships, 12,155.00 

Famine Fund, 124.00 $87,725.20 

Interest 3.852.59 



Cost of School Property in Poona, $21,002.54 

Support of School, 59>955'52 

General Expenses, 6,665.89 $87,623.95 

Balance March i, 1898 (Bay State Trust Co.), . $3,953.84 




Berea, Ky., Y. P. S. C. E., . . 


Mrs. Dana's, . . . 

Boston, Mass., Old Colony 


*' Plymouth Church, 

Bryn Mawr College, . . . . 

California Association, . . . 

Camden, " King's Daughters' 
Steadfast Circle," . . . . 

Camden, " Willing Workers," 


" Granger Place School, 

Central City, Neb. 

Chelten Hills, 



Cloverdale, Cal , 


Concord, N.H., 


Constantinople, American Col- 
lege for Girls, 

Cooper, Mich., "Q. E., Jr., Mis- 
sionary Society," . . . . 

Delhi, N.Y., Miss Gilchrist's 
S. S. Class, 

Denver, Col., 

Elmira, N.Y., Woman's Board 
Missions, Park Church, . . 

Evanston, 111., 

Fairmount, N.Y., S. School, . 

Farmington, Miss Porter's 

Farmington, N. Y., W. C. T. U. 


Fremont, Neb., 

Geneva, N.Y., 

Germantown, First, . . . . 
** Second, . . . 

Gilbertsville, N.Y., . . . . 

Tenth Year. 

r^ <«• 

= = r, 








1. 00 












P K 
























37 5-00 








Hartford, . 


Indianapolis, , 

*' Girls' Classical School 
Ithaca, Cornell University, 
Jacksonville, 111., 
Jamestown, N.Y., 
Kansas City, 
Lansing, . . 
Leroy, . . . 
London, Ont. 
Los Angeles, 

** Warren Memorial 

Presbyterian Society, . . 


Marengo, 111., W. C. T. U., 
Mills College, Cal., Tolman 

Branch, . . . 
Montclair, N.J., . 
Montesano, Wash., 
Montreal, . . . 
Naperville, . . . 
New Haven, . . 
New Hope, Pa., 
New York, . . . 

" " Alice Spence 

Prentice Memorial," . . 
New York, Miss Merrill's, 

" Missionary Societyj 

Church of the Strangers, 

Niagara Falls, 

Normal, 111., 

Northampton, Smith College 


Oakland, Cal., 

Ogontz, Pa., Ogontz School 



Oswego Lend a Hand Circle 

King's Daughters 
Pasadena, Cal., 
Pawtucket, R.I., . 

Tenth Year, 

- D . 

pi— < u 
'ctf.S j£ 


















1 24.40 





1. 00 








Petaluma, Cal., 


Philadelphia, Josee, . . . . 
" Manorama, . . 

" Sahaya, . . . 

Pine Bush, N.Y., 

Plainfield, N.J., 

Plainville, Conn., 

Portland, Ore., 


Quincy, 111., 

Riverside, Cal., W. C. T. U., . 

Roselle, N.J., 

Saco, Me., 

Salem, Mass., Crombie St. 

Church, Y. P. S. C. E., . . 
San Francisco, Miss Hamlin's, 

San Jose, Cal., 

" Cal., State Normal 


Santa Barbara, Cal, . . . . 

Santa Rosa, Cal., 

Sherwood, N.Y., 

Sioux City, 


Springfield, Mass., . . , . 


St. Louis, 

Tacoma, Wash., 




Virginia Association, . . . 
Warren, 111., Sunday School, 
Wabaunsee, Kan., ist Church 

of Christ, 


Wilmington, Del., .... 

Tenth Year. 

3 I— I 4) 

— C . 

% 18.00 







[ 20.00 





' 68.00 








































$500 $87,725.20 

E. & O. E. 


Treasurer Ramabai Association. 


The report of the Executive Committee was read by the 
chairman, Mrs. J, W. Andrews. The report follows : — 


To THE Members of the Ramabai Association : 

During the ten years for which the Ramabai Association 
pledged itself to the support of the Sharada Sadan, and 
which are now closed, it has been the duty of the Executive 
Committee to give to you annually a detailed account of 
the condition and progress of the school. Pandita Rama- 
bai's welcome presence to-day renders such a report from 
the committee unnecessary. They will therefore give a 
few facts concerning Ramabai's early life, the beginning of 
her work, and the formation of the Association, that are 
not embodied in any previous report, and are known to but 
few. They will also give a brief resume of the work accom- 
plished during the nine years of the school's existence. 

Forty years ago, on the 23d of April, 1858, in the forest 
of Gangamul, in the Western Ghauts of India, a child was 
born, who, as a woman, was to stand forth alone, the one 
fearless champion of the rights of her unfortunate sisters, 
to strike from them the chains of ignorance and supersti- 
tion that for centuries have kept them in cruel bondage. 
Her parents gave to her the name of the goddess Rama, 
which signifies "bright." Her father, Ananta Shastri, a 
learned Brahmin, taking to himself a child-wife nine years 
of age, resolved to put in practice his liberal theories con- 
cerning female education. But so horrified were his people 
by this open disregard of the cherished traditions and cus- 
toms of the country that he was obliged to make for himself 
and little wife a home in the forest, where he could teach 
her unmolested, save by the wild beasts. Lukshmibai's 
early memories of that home were of lying on the ground 
night after night, convulsed with terror by the cries of the 


beasts in the jungle, her husband sitting by her side to 
soothe her. Day by day the lessons went on. Her gifted 
mind responded readily to her husband's teachings; in 
time she realized his fondest hopes, and became the teacher 
of the children who came to them. 

Ramabai's early memories of forest homes were those 
of being awakened at early dawn by a mother's tender 
caress, of the early morning lessons learned only from her 
mother's lips and from Nature, into which were woven the 
glories of the morning sky, the sweet melody of birds, and 
the majestic voices of the forest. Not long after her birth 
the life of the family became a wandering one, consisting 
of homes in forests, long pilgrimages, travelling from city 
to city, from town to town, often shelterless at night 
and hungry by day, the father still pleading fearlessly 
for the elevation of his countrywomen. During this time 
Ramabai's education continued, and was entirely of a 
religious nature. At twelve years of age she had com- 
mitted eighteen thousand sacred verses from the Purana, 
all of which she repeated, with but two mistakes, five years 
ago. Here she gained her great knowledge of the Sanskrit 

After the death of the parents the brother and sister 
took up the work of the father. Ramabai's fame as a 
lecturer reaching the ears of the pundits of Calcutta, they 
desired to hear and see for themselves. She obeyed their 
summons to appear before them ; and so astonished and 
pleased were they by the clearness of her views, and her 
eloquence in presenting them, that they conferred on her 
the highest title, — Sarasvati, Goddess of Wisdom. 

It was during these wanderings with her brother that her 
faith in the Hindu religion was shaken, though she wor- 
shipped the gods of brass and stone until twenty years old. 
The freedom of their lives had given to the brother and 
sister keen powers of observation, and they resolved to test 
the teachings of the sacred books whenever possible. The 


following is but one of many tests that exposed the hollow- 
ness of their religion and the deception of the priests. 
They had been taught that in the Himalayas there was a 
beautiful lake, in which were seven floating mountains, the 
forms in which seven sages, or Mahatmas, appeared. When 
sinless pilgrims came to the shore, the Mahatmas floated 
toward them, and received their worship ; but before the 
wicked they were immovable. During their journeyings 
Ramabai and her brother, to their surprise and joy, found 
themselves near this lake, and beheld the mountains. They 
prostrated themselves, but received no sign. The priests 
warned them against going into the water, lest they be 
devoured by crocodiles ; but the brother, early in the morn- 
ing when the priests were not on the watch, dared the 
crocodiles, and swam out to the mountains. He found them 
to be masses of stone and mud planted with trees, standing 
on rafts. The whole mystery was soon cleared. Behind 
the mountains a little boat was concealed. When a poor 
pilgrim, desirous of being considered sinless, crossed the 
palm of a priest's hand with sufficient coin, and called on 
the Mahatmas to float toward him, a priest in the boat 
gave the raft a push toward him, and he went away happy 
in his delusion. While wandering from place to place, 
Ramabai had free access to the homes of the high-caste 
Hindus, saw the home life in all its cruel details, and re- 
solved to devote her life to the redemption of her unfort- 
unate sisters, especially the child-widows. 

Her brother's death left her alone in the world ; but meet- 
ing an educated man who sympathized with her in her un- 
selfish resolve, she married him, though of low caste, and 
was very happy, made more happy by the birth of a little 
girl, whom they called Mano, Heart's Delight. As Rama- 
bai, with the aid of her husband, was about to establish a 
little school for widows, he suddenly died. Feeling then 
the need of greater work and a better training for it, she 
resolved to come to England. Before leaving her country, 


she had founded the Arya Mahila Somaj in Poona, for the 
promotion of female education and discouragement of child 

In May, 1883, Ramabai landed in England, — a stranger 
to its people, its customs and manners. She very quickly 
learned the language, was made professor of Sanskrit in 
the Cheltenham Female College, and studied higher mathe- 
matics, English literature, etc. Here she embraced Chris- 
tianity, and was baptized in the Episcopal Church, though 
entirely unsectarian in her belief. In England there was no 
response to her appeals for the cause so dear to her. Re- 
ceiving an unexpected invitation to come to Philadelphia to 
attend the graduation of her cousin. Dr. Joshee, she felt 
it to be the call of God. She came, and first saw '' the holy 
land of America " in February, 1886. In Dean Bodley of 
the Women's Medical College, she found a true friend who 
encouraged her to remain and work out her plans in Amer- 
ica. Through the public-school system, the kindergarten 
and industrial training, she saw an open door for her work. 
After writing " The High-caste Hindu Woman," the proceeds 
from which were to be devoted to compiling her Marathi 
school-books ; after studying the public-school systems and 
taking a thorough course of kindergarten training of Miss 
Stewart, of Philadelphia, she made her appeals to the peo- 
ple to aid her in establishing a secular school for the high- 
caste child-widows. The appeals were to men and women 
of every denomination. She asked, moreover, that they 
should form themselves into an undenominational Associa- 
tion to be the custodian of the funds that might be given 
her, and to which she should be responsible for the use of 
those funds. Herein she builded better than she knew, for 
no one can now charge her with misappropriating a penny 
of the money. 

But where was the Church that could effect this organiza- 
tion without making it denominational ? Dr. Brooks, of 
Trinity, with many of his people who were intensely inter- 


ested in Ramabai and her cause, would have gladly done it 
had it been possible. Kind offers from Orthodox and 
Methodists were regretfully declined. The Unitarian body 
was then recognized as the only religious body that could 
organize this work and leave it free from sectarianism. 

It responded to the appeal; and May 28, 1887, a public 
meeting was held in this hall (Channing Hall of the Ameri- 
can Unitarian Association Building) under the auspices of 
Unitarians. The hall was filled to overflowing. The audi- 
ence was moved to tears and laughter by Ramabai's pathos 
and keen wit. At the close of her stirring appeal, Rev. 
Charles G. Ames, then of Philadelphia, now pastor at the 
Church of the Disciples of this city, moved that a provisional 
committee of women be appointed then and there to con- 
sider Ramabai's plans, to act as far as possible, and report 
at a later meeting called for the purpose. Thus was the 
ball set in motion which the committee pushed on during 
the summer. Through Miss Phebe G. Adam, who was born 
in India, a satisfactory correspondence was held with Dr. 
Bhandarkar, of Poona, and Sir William Wedderburn, of 
England. This occupied much time, as it requires two 
months for a letter to reach India and the reply to be re- 
ceived here. 

Rev. Dr. E. E. Hale consented to act as President of 
an Association. And, when Rev. Dr. Phillips Brooks was 
asked to fill the place of First Vice-President, his hearty 
response was, "Where Dr. Hale leads, I will follow." 
Equally cordial were the answers of Rev. Dr. Lyman Ab- 
bott and Rev. Dr. George A. Gordon. These gentlemen, 
with Mrs. Mary Hemenway, Dean Rachel Bodley, and 
Frances A. Willard, formed a rare body of officers, — 
Unitarian, Episcopalian, Orthodox, Methodist, and Baptist. 
The Board of Trustees, composed of some of the best 
business and professional men of Boston, was equally un- 
sectarian, as was the Executive Committee, formed entirely 
of women. In six months the Provisional Committee was 


ready to report. At a public meeting held Dec. 13, 1887, 
in this hall, they presented a report that was accepted, a 
list of officers who were elected, a constitution that was 
adopted, and the temporary Association became an organ- 
ized body, — it seemed to sprhig mto existence, — and Rama- 
bai saw her long-cherished plans take definite form. That 
night her joy was too great for sleep ; when found sobbing 
in her room, she exclaimed, " I am crying for joy that my 
dream of years has become a reality." 

The next morning her feelings found expression in grate- 
ful and graceful notes — written as only Orientals can write 
— to the four ministers who spoke words of encouragement 
and sympathy that day. To the rector of St. Paul's 
Church, who appeared unexpectedly and made a stirring 
little speech, she wrote: " As I was passing St. Paul's this 
morning, on my way to the hall, I did wish that church 
might be represented at the meeting. When, lo and be- 
hold ! Saint Paul himself appeared. If the apostles are 
going to take up this work, then India will soon be a land 
of happy homes." 

Again, in the following May, a public meeting was held 
in this hall for Ramabai to bid farewell to her Eastern 
friends. Then the Unitarians, as a body, retired from the 
field, having accomplished the work they were asked to do, 
and having had nothing whatever to do with the policy of 
the school, which was entirely in Ramabai's hands. The 
Annual Meetings have been since held in Trinity Chapel or 
at the New Old South Church. 

After the formation of the Association Ramabai consid- 
ered herself its servant. From May, 1887, to November, 
1888, this dauntless little woman of thirty, in the midst of a 
strange people, strange customs and manners, eating neither 
'' fish, flesh, nor fowl," drinking nothing stronger than water 
and milk, often cold and hungry, showed a degree of mental 
and physical endurance that was marvellous even in the 
eyes of an American.' 


^ Protected from insult by her pure womanliness and strong 
personality, she travelled from Canada to the Pacific Coast, 
lecturing, forming circles, studying the educational, philan- 
thropic, and charitable institutions, omitting nothing that 
might prove helpful to her people. Reaching the Pacific 
Coast, her impassioned appeals enlisted the sympathies of 
ministers of all denominations, — Protestant, Catholic, and 
Jew, — of earnest women and business men. With Miss 
Sarah D. Hamlin's strong influence and help an Auxiliary 
Association was there formed that sent to the treasury the 
first year ^5,000. 

In November, 1888, Ramabai bade good-by to a land 
that had grown very dear to her, and turned her face home- 
wards bright with hope, and with a brave heart, though she 
knew not how she would be received by her countrymen. 
It is said that, when the young men of Poona heard of her 
conversion, they went through the streets with tears running 
down their cheeks, crying : " Our beloved Ramabai is lost 
to us forever ! Our beloved Ramabai is lost to us forever ! 
she has become a Christian ! " 

Feb. r, 1889, Ramabai again stood on the shores of her 
native land, after an absence of six years. In less than six 
weeks a school was opened in Bombay, named the Sharada 
Sadan, signifying a Home of Wisdom. It opened with two 
pupils, one of whom had thrice attempted suicide, re- 
strained only by the fear of being again born a woman. 
Godubai is now the educated wife of a professor in Poona 
College, and a happy mother. 

The annual reports have informed you of the removal 
of the school to Poona, the various vicissitudes through 
which it has passed, of the storms it has encountered and 
weathered, and of the inevitable changes that have grad- 
ually taken place. Of the great changes during the past 
year, and of the future, Ramabai herself will speak. 

You have learned from the Treasurer's report that up to 
March, 1898, the Association has received $87,725.20 for the 

Sharada Sadan. $3,852.59 of interest makes the sum total 
$91,577.79'. This speaks eloquently for the generosity and 
loyalty of Ramabai's supporters, and for the judicious 
management of the funds ; and it should be stated that 
a large amount of this sum has been expended in building 
a large stone school-house, dormitories, bath-houses, com- 
pound walls, in repairing and enlarging old buildings, etc. 
In the annual school expenses, Ramabai has not exceeded 
the $6,000 voted for the support of the school, until the 
appearance of the famine and the plague, when the price of 
food, clothing, and labor advanced, and several removals 
back and forth from the Sadan to the farm were necessary. 
It should also be stated that, in the estimated cost of fifty 
or sixty pupils, with the expense of food and clothing are in- 
cluded salaries of teachers, wages of servants, care of com- 
pound, travelling expenses, taxes, etc. 

Ramabai has been accused of extravagance in feeding her 
pupils. She believes that good nourishing food, with plenty 
of it, is better than medicine for their physical, mental, and 
even moral development, in which belief and practice the 
Executive Committee heartily sustained her. Consequently, 
no deaths have occurred among the inmates of the Sharada 

What are the results of this expenditure of time, money, 
and sympathy, — this great co-operation ? The Sharada 
Sadan, to-day, is worth $50,000, without one rupee of debt 
upon it. Through it have passed three hundred and fifty 
child widows and girls, the average number in the home 
being fifty. The past year closed with seventy-five. Four- 
teen pupils have been trained as teachers, nine of whom are 
teaching in different schools, and two have opened schools 
of their own. Of eight trained as nurses, five are em- 
ployed. Of seven trained as assistants to missionaries, five 
are employed. Seven are matrons, two are housekeepers ; 
while ten have happy homes of their own, and were not 
married before they were twenty-one. Of the three hundred 


and fifty who have been in the Sadan for a longer or shorter 
time, forty-eight have become Christians, twenty-three of 
whom are voluntary Christian workers ; all of these retain- 
ing the Hindu customs and costumes. 

The greater part of this great work has been accom- 
plished in less than nine years. For in the storm of 1893 
thirty-one pupils were removed from the Sadan, through the 
influence of the Poona Advisory Board after its resignation, 
so that fifty of the present number have been under instruc- 
tion less than five years. In two years thirty of the present 
pupils will be ready to go out as wage-earners. 

What "glorified statistics " are these ! 

This is not all. Ramabai's influence and power have not 
been confined to the Sadan. They have been felt in the com- 
munity far and near. Some homes have been made happier. 
Some fathers and brothers are appreciating the value of edu- 
cation for their daughters and sisters. The educated young 
man is seeking an educated wife of twenty, though she be 
the despised widow, rather than the girl of nine who can 
neither tead nor write. And Ramabai's learned brothers, 
the so-called " Reformers," who have so bitterly opposed her, 
are now resting from their fruitless labors. To-day Rama- 
bai comes before us with " a triumphant note of gladness " in 
her voice that the children of the Sadan — the children of 
her heart and of your adoption — are giving their services 
in the care of three hundred of their sisters whom she has 
saved from death by starvation, and from moral deaths worse 
than starvation. 

Such influences cannot be estimated by dollars and cents. 
Were the doors of the Sharada Sadan to be closed to-day, one 
could not but feel that, in its brief existence, it had given 
more than full value for the money expended, — a value that 
cannot die with the death of pledges or the closing of doors. 
But there can be no question of death. The American 
people will listen to Ramabai's appeals, and again send her 
back to her home a happy and grateful woman. 


The following statement that came in this week's Indian 
mail is too significant to omit from this report : — 

On account of the Christian influence in Pandita Ramabai's Sharada 
Sadan at Poona, the Poona Brahmins started, in June, 1896, an opposi- 
tion establishment. They have gathered altogether over 6,000 rupees, 
and up to the present date have expended less than 500 rupees. This 
expense has been incurred by the support, w^holly or partially, of nine 
widows, who were instructed in the Poona Female High School and 
Training College, and boarded in the boarding-house attached to these 
institutions. The report just issued remarks that it was the intention 
of the Managing Committee to establish a separate home, with its own 
boarding, lodging, and teaching establishments; and a beginning in 
that direction was to have been made at the commencement of this 
year. But, owing to the plague, the idea had to be given up for the 
present. It is, however, hoped that, if the epidemic disappears from 
Poona in a few months, some effort may be made in June next, or, at 
the latest, at the beginning of the next year, to establish a separate and 
independent home for Hindu widows. In 5 this home it is proposed 
to train the women, some as teachers and others as ptiraniks, or 
preachers of Hindu doctrine. Later on it is proposed to establish an 
elementary medical and nursing department. This emulation of Rama- 
bai's noble work is encouraging, inasmuch as it will doubtless tend in 
the direction of the amelioration of the lot of many poor widows. At 
the same time it will never in any way rival the pioneer institution, 
while it lacks the noble, self-sacrificing personality at its head, as well 
as the generous treatment given at the Sharada Sadan. 

Let a thousand " opposition establishments " be started 
in India, and the Sharada Sadan would hail them all with 
delight. They would but reflect her glory. 

The Executive Committee, in giving their last report, 
would gratefully acknowledge their indebtedness to the 
officers of the Association for sympathy and advice when 
grave questions confronted them, especially to Mr. Alpheus 
H. Hardy, chairman of the Board of Trustees, and Mr. 
Eugene B. Hagar, the legal adviser, who have been ever 
ready to respond to any and every demand made upon their 
time, patience, and assistance. 

To the A. B. C. F. Mission they are indebted for kind aid 


in transportation of goods to India ; to the firm of Damrell 
& Upham for generous assistance in the sale of Ramabai's 
book, " The High-caste Hindu Woman " ; to the American 
Unitarian Association for the free use of a room for monthly 
and special meetings. 

They acknowledge also the kind courtesy of the Lend-a- 
Hand^ the Outlook, the Christian Register, and the daily 
papers, especially the Boston Transcript and Herald. 

But with grateful memories are mingled memories re- 
gretful and sorrowful. The losses to the Association and to 
Ramabai by death have been many and great. The first to 
lay down the work was the one who began it with Ramabai, 
her first friend in America, Dean Rachel Bodley. Then fol- 
lowed in quick succession Professor Shackford, Bishop 
Brooks, Mrs. Hemenway, ex-Governor Rice, and but re- 
cently Frances A. Willard, for whom a memorial service is 
now being held in King's Chapel. All were Ramabai's per- 
sonal and loyal friends. What memorial service could be 
more fitting for them than this day's record of the success 
of the woman and her work so dear to them ! 

The Executive Committee regret that the new Association 
will not be able to secure the valuable services of the pres- 
ent Corresponding Secretary, who was interested in Rama- 
bai and her work before the formation of this Association. 
For ten years she has kept the committee in touch with the 
circles, the circles in touch with each other. Her services 
have been not only faithful and thorough, but most gener- 
ous. Another secretary might so profit by Miss Granger's 
systematized and complete work as to learn its pleasures, 
but never how arduous have been its duties. 

One recommendation only does the committee presume 
to offer to the new Association. It is in recognition of the 
Treasurer's most valuable services, — that they be retained, 
if they can be secured. Mr. Ferry has had the care of the 
funds through the school period of nine years. His name 
is known to all the supporters of the school. He has the 


confidence of all and of Ramabai, and his yearly accounts 
testify to his fidelity and good judgment. 

The Executive Committee would now like to say a few 
words for themselves. They would say, and so emphatically 
that there can be no misunderstanding, that they who with- 
draw from the work do not withdraw from any lack of inter- 
est in it, from any lack of confidence in Ramabai, from any 
lack of faith in the future. All are busy women, whose in- 
terests are not centred in one charitable, one philanthropic, 
or one humanitarian movement. Many and imperative are 
the demands on their time and means. For ten years they 
have worked together most harmoniously, — yes, even more 
harmoniously than many a church committee of one denom- 
ination. There have been no differences of opinion in re- 
gard to the secular and religious aspects of the work, nor in 
regard to school expenditures. The work has held pleasure 
and sweetness for them. They feel it has enriched their 
own lives. But there have been also anxieties and perplexi- 
ties, of w^hich no one outside of the committee can have any 

If Ramabai and some of her friends have ever thought 
the committee too critical and their advice too cautious, 
Ramabai knows that the criticism came from their very love 
and anxiety for her, and their loyalty to the policy she her- 
self marked out. 

If the committee have at times thought her unwise in 
letting her heart mislead her judgment, and have seen the 
impatience of a child under restraining advice, they have 
also recognized and appreciated in her the simple, absolute 
faith of a child, the courage of the martyr, the spirit of the 
true reformer, and the glory of womanhood. 

Therefore, with loving and reverent hearts, they say to 
her in her enlarged work, " God-speed to Ramabai, the one 
Ramabai in all India," — so called by many of her own coun- 
trymen, — God-speed to Ramabai, the Reformer, who in the 
midst of opposition, abuse and treachery, has fearlessly 


fought single-handed and alone against the walls of ^super- 
stition and ignorance, of caste, child marriage and per- 
petual widowhood, that "for centuries have been a-building " 
around the women of India. And God speed the day when 
she shall see these walls totter and fall, leaving her sisters 
free as the air, and making India " indeed a land of happy 

So applicable to Ramabai are the lines of Edward Row- 
land Sill upon " The Reformer " that with them the com- 
mittee will close this report : — 

" Before the monstrous wrong he sits him down, — 
One man against a stone-walled city of sin. 
For centuries these walls have been a-building : 
Smooth porphyry, they slant and coldly glass 
The flying storm and wheeling sun. No chink. 
No crevice, lets the thinnest arrow in. 
He fights alone, and from the cloudy ramparts 
A thousand evil faces gibe and jeer him. 
Let him lie down, and die. What is the right, 
And where is justice, in a world like this.'' 

"But by and by, Earth shakes herself, impatient; 
And down, in one great roar of ruin, crash 
Watch-tower and citadel and battlements. 
When the red dust has cleared, the lonely soldier 
Stands with strange thoughts beneath the friendly stars." 

For the Executive Committee, 

Boston, March i6, li 

Judith W. Andrews, Chairman. 

Dr. Abbott. — We have had ten years of work and bless- 
ing in that work. What of the future ? Before we can hear 
from Ramabai, this question of the future must be put 
clearly before us, because we want to hear her, not only with 
reference to the past, but also with reference to the future. 
A special committee has been appointed to take this matter 
into consideration, and its report will now be presented by 
the chairman, the Rev. Dr. E. Winchester Donald : — 


Dr. Donald. — It was originally intended that this report 
should be presented at a meeting of the Association earlier 
than this annual meeting ; but I am very glad that it was not 
presented before. One of the matters which we were asked 
to go into was the religious conduct of the school, in regard 
to which more or less questioning had been heard. We went 
into that question very carefully in several meetings through 
the months of June and July of last year, and we prepared 
a report which was at the time, at least, satisfactory to all of 
us. But this part of the report is now set aside, owing to 
the presence with us of Pundita Ramabai, who can speak 
herself of the religious questions with far more intelligence 
than the committee could. The other part of the report was 
a purely legal matter, and this I will ask Mr. Hagar, who 
wrote it, to read. 

Mr. Eugene B. Hagar then read the following report : — 


The committee appointed under resolution adopted at the 
Annual Meeting of the Ramabai Association, held March 17, 
1897, to consider and report upon certain alleged features 
of the religious and financial administration of the Associa- 
tion's school at Poona, begs to report : — 

The unexpected presence of Ramabai in America ob- 
viously renders unnecessary any report by this committee 
respecting the religious administration of the school. 

The report will therefore be limited to the financial, ma- 
terial, and legal situation and poUcy. 

At the inception of this enterprise Ramabai hoped that 
at the end of ten years the school would be supported by 
her countrymen. Accordingly, a plan to raise funds in 
America for that period was deemed sufficiently far-reaching. 
In pursuance of that plan, persons were asked to "pledge 
themselves to the payment of not less than one dollar per 


year for a period of ten years." Under the by-laws of the 
Association, only such persons as do so pledge themselves 
become members thereof. The periods of ten years for 
which the present members so pledged themselves are now 
drawing to a close ; and the question has arisen, What will 
be the legal status of the Association when these periods 
shall have actually expired ? 

The Ramabai Association is a corporation, incorporated 
under the general laws of Massachusetts, Feb. 27, 1889. 
Its purpose is "to assist in the education of child widows in 
India, which shall be entirely unsectarian in character." 
There is no limitation of time either in the laws governing 
the Association or in the acts of the Association under those 
laws. Therefore, the Association has perpetual life, unless 
and until it shall be dissolved by some positive act of law. 
The existence of the corporation is in no wise affected by 
the expiration of the original ten-year periods. It is w^hoUy 
within the powers of the corporation either to secure each 
year a new group of ten-year subscribers, who would become 
new members, or to abandon the ten-year pledge altogether 
and ask for annual donations, or to adopt any other method 
whatever of securing pecuniary gifts from the benevolent. 
Even total failure to collect money in any manner, while it 
would impair the efficiency, would not affect the existence, 
of the Association. 

Briefly, the system of ten-year pledges is only one of many 
methods which might have been adopted to obtain funds, 
and is no part of the fundamental law by which the Associa- 
tion exists. The Association will continue to exist whether 
this system is revived or is abandoned, and whether some 
other system or no other system is adopted. The Associa- 
tion is as free to adopt at any time any legitimate method of 
obtaining funds as if the system of ten-year pledges had 
never been employed. 

The Association now holds the unincumbered title to land 
and buildings in Poona, for which the Association has paid 


about twenty-one thousand dollars ; and it has thus far paid 
the expenses of the school there conducted by Ramabai. 
But the system, by which the money for these expenses has 
been raised, is now, by virtue of its own limitation of ten 
years, ceasing to operate. Consequently, the Association 
must either take new action to procure the required funds 
or must cease to maintain the school. 

The needs of the school are as great as ever, the benefi- 
cence of the work is undiminished, the miseries which the 
Association was created to mitigate are not perceptibly re- 
duced ; and their appeal to the sympathy is as overwhelm- 
ing as when this charity was first instituted. The reasons 
that led to its institution all exist to-day with unabated force. 
They have also received reinforcement from a new source. 
These years of actual experience have proved that the 
scheme is no mere vision, inviting the compassionate to 
well-meant yet fruitless labor, but can be made a living fact. 
It is proved that enormous abuses, though deeply rooted in 
centuries of habit, can be successfully attacked. A solitary 
woman, consumed with love and pity, endowed with insight 
and tact, knowing through and through the temper of the 
people among whom she must work, unfaltering in purpose, 
unfailing in resource, excelling in patience, undaunted by 
whatsoever adversity of conditions, has been able to inaugu- 
rate a reform, and in the face of most bitter and relentless 
prejudice has been able to maintain and advance it through 
nearly ten years. It is a marvel that she and her school 
have not been annihilated by the violent hands of the hostile 
multitude about them. But, though the conflict has been 
fierce, she has not suffered defeat. Her school has been 
established and maintained, and its accommodations are 
already overtaxed. In a movement opposed to fanatical 
prejudice, the most difficult and dangerous part is gaining a 
foothold. Ramabai has gained a foothold, and has kept it. 
The possibility of ultimate success is thereby assured. 

Compared with the loftiness of Ramabai's aim and the 


measure of her actual achievement in the past and of her 
probable achievement in the future, the few thousands of 
dollars required annually to sustain her seem paltry and 
insignificant. It is idle to weigh a few dollars against a 
reform of a vast population. It is a happy day when the 
world bestows on a genius the petty wealth which enables 
him to accomplish in his chosen field more than can be ac- 
complished by battalions of less highly endowed laborers. 

For these reasons, the committee earnestly hopes that 
this enterprise may be maintained and even enlarged in the 

The question then presents itself whether this duty shall 
be assumed by this Association. A different set of reasons 
leads to a negative answer. 

It may be mentioned, as the first of these, that the As- 
sociation has now accomplished all of its original purposes. 
It has now fully performed all that it originally undertook. 
Its original, self-imposed duty having been discharged, dis- 
solution is in order. 

Another and more cogent reason is the financial outlook. 
Since the last annual meeting the Executive Committee has, 
by means of a circular and the answers thereto, obtained 
valuable information as to the continuance of the subscrip- 
tions of the members who have hitherto supported this 
work. This wise act of the Executive Committee has sub- 
stituted knowledge for conjecture as to the principal con- 
dition affecting the future career of the Association. 

The answers to the circular reveal the fact that the re- 
ceipts will so largely shrink as to be insufficient to meet the 
expenses. This fact seems to point decisively to the dis- 
solution of the Association. To be sure, when infinite suf- 
fering is thrust into view, the temptation is great even to 
reckless expenditure. But, even in the management of a 
charity, heed must be given to prudence, if the disaster and 
discredit of insolvency are to be avoided. 

Another argument in favor of dissolving this corporation 


is that there are some indications that it may become nec- 
essary or expedient to modify the principles of administra- 
tion of the school in a manner that would exceed the powers 
conferred upon the Association by its present franchise. 
These powers cannot be changed without a special act of 
the legislature. It is quite as easy to dissolve this corpora- 
tion and form a new one, possibly with headquarters in 
New York or Philadelphia, as to secure a special act of the 
legislature, enlarging the powers of this Association. 

Further, many persons, whose interest and activity have 
made them invaluable and indispensable to this Association, 
feel compelled, not through lack of well wishing, to with- 
draw from further participation in the work. It is but fair 
that their successors should not be hampered by the views 
held ten years ago, but should be free to frame a new policy 
adapted to the conditions of to-day. 

The dissolution of the corporation does not necessarily 
affect the existence of the circles. 

The committee, therefore, recommends : — 

First, that the land and buildings in Poona be conveyed 
to Ramabai. It is only for her and her work that they were 
bought, as it is only for her and her work that this Associa- 
tion was ever organized at all. But for the existence of such 
a specially gifted person, the Association would never have 
been created, nor would it probably continue to exist. 

An objection to the transfer may be made on the ground 
that at Ramabai's death the property would go to her heirs 
or be subject to her will. The answer to that objection is, 
that after Ramabai's death it is most doubtful whether this 
corporation would undertake to continue this work ; that 
Ramabai is infinitely more anxious than anybody else for its 
success ; and that she, on the spot, is infinitely more capable 
than anybody else of judging what disposition of the prop- 
erty would best promote the object to which she is so pas- 
sionately devoted. 

Second, that all personal property of the Association, be- 


yond what is required to pay debts, past or future, and the 
expenses of dissolving the corporation, be paid, assigned, and 
delivered to Ramabai. 

Third, that notice be given to Ramabai that she is no 
longer authorized to contract any debt in the name or behalf 
of the Association, and that a similar notice be given to 
any persons who may be known to the officers of the Asso- 
ciation, and wdth whom she has habitually so contracted 

Fourth, that the corporation be dissolved by due process 
of law. 

In behalf of the committee, 

E. Winchester Donald. 
March i6, i8q8. 

Upon motion the report was received, and placed on file. 

Dr. Abbott. — It is not desirable to enter into debate on 
the motions which Mr. Hagar proposes lo offer until we have 
heard from Ramabai. 

One of the most graphic and eloquent chapters of the 
Bible is that eleventh chapter of Hebrews, which gives a 
panorama of the work wrought by faith in Hebrew history. 
The history of faith has not ended with the close of the 
canon of the Old Testament or of the New. God's people 
have been writing it ever since, nor will it be finished, I 
think, so long as there is work to be done on the earth, and 
disciples of Christ to do it. When it is finished, and we 
unroll the great roll in eternity, I think we shall find written 
in that chapter something like this : — 

i' By faith Pundita Ramabai won the hearts of Americans, 
and emancipated her sisters in India." 

I, for one, am glad to acknowledge my personal indebted- 
ness to Ramabai for the quickening and deepening of my 
spiritual faith through my acquaintance with her and with 


her work. We are all glad she is with us to-day, and are all 
glad to hear from her. 

Upon rising to speak, Pundita Ramabai was received with 
hearty applause by the audience, which crowded the hall and 
its anterooms. She spoke as follows: — 


Dear Friends^ — You have heard the reports of the school 
that was started in India nine years ago, — the school that 
you started ; for you gave the money, and you have worked 
for it all that time. You see the first scholar of that school 
standing before you : she has learned a lesson there, — it is 
to thank and praise God. For this work has not been 
done by human strength alone. The eternal God is behind 
it and at the foundation of it; and, as there is no end to 
Him, so there will be no end to His work. I thank Him 
for all He has done for us. It was He who put the love 
in your hearts which gave us so generously the help that we 
needed in India. I thank the President, the Executive 
Committee, and all the officers of the Association, and the 
workers. I thank especially Mrs. Andrews, who has been 
a mother, a counsellor, a guide to me for more than eleven 
years. My friends the Trustees have thought it necessary 
to put in a clause about paying the debts contracted by me. 
I am glad to tell you that I have not contracted the debt 
of a single cent on the property which you have given for 
the education of high-caste widows. But I have contracted 
a big debt of gratitude ; and I shall never be able to repay 
it, though I may thank you all my life. But God, who is 
Almighty, the King of the Universe, will reward you as you 
deserve. With this I shall finish the first lesson that I have 
learnt, — that of thanksgiving. And I shall now begin to 
tell you what has been done during these nine years. 

But first let me deliver the messages that I bring from 


India, from " the children of your adoption," as Mrs. An- 
drews has called them. They all call her Ajibai ; that is, 
" grandmother." And they call you their loyal friends, 
fathers and mothers, truly, because you have given them 
the life and light that they so lacked in their own homes. 
They send their love and thanks to you all. I was rather 
afraid that the ship in which I came would sink because 
of this great load of thanks that I was bringing. But it 
floated on the sea, and has brought me safely to this 
country. They, the children of the Sharada Sadan, are all 
very grateful and happy ; and they told me to tell you that 
they will always gratefully remember what you have done 
for them. 

In these nine years we have erected a monument, — a mon- 
ument to the saints. Let us call this All Saints' Day. It 
is that to me, and I thank God for the saints He has given 
me for my friends. There are those dear departed friends 
who are no more in this world, but I do not mourn for them 
as those who have no hope. They are there in the church 
triumphant, praying and working for us, — not limited to the 
body of flesh and blood, but glad and happy, and doing as 
much and more than you and I can do. This Sharada 
Sadan which stands in Poona is a monument to honor their 
memory, and also to the honor of those saints who live here 
in the church militant, — you, all of you who are working 
for us everywhere in this country and many who are work- 
ing for us all over the world. The monument is a small 
one compared with the great works which you have been 
doing here, but it is a very big one in our eyes. And it 
will stand forever, I believe, although the bricks and stone 
may fall down to the ground ; for God will always have that 
monument in eternity for the honor of all these saints in 
the church militant and in the church triumphant. 

Our work has been only for high-caste girls, widows, and 
deserted wives ; and we have admitted in the school no 
other girls except as they came in company with the widows. 

We have been able to help nearly five hundred girls, in- 
cluding the seventy-five who are now in the school. Three 
hundred and fifty have passed out of the school, having 
been benefited by it in many ways that cannot be doubted. 
Fifty have been trained to work for themselves, and have 
received lasting benefit. We started the school with two 
scholars ; and how large has it grown to-day ? Shall I say 
nearly two hundred times as big ? Yes : that will not be 
.an exaggeration. We started the school with teaching the 
alphabet in Marathi and Sanskrit and English. We had to 
hire a house ; and Miss Demmon, who went with me from 
Boston, taught one scholar, and I the other. Who of us 
will despise the day of small things ? I have never heard of 
a smaller school than this. But it has worked its way 
through these nine years, and we have been able, not only 
to teach the girls the alphabet, but to have a kindergarten 
training school, a primary school, and now a high school. 

I remember travelling through this city of Boston with 
my friend. Miss Granger, looking for some ministers who 
would help us. Many of them said this would be a fruit- 
less work. But there were some people who said, " Let us 
try " ; and they did try, and this is the result. 

There are seventy little children in our kindergarten 
taken care of by our own trained kindergartner. She was a 
widow, starving for want of food, despised and deserted by 
her own people, when she came to me eight years and a half 
ago. I am grateful to you for having given me that Sharada 
Sadan which enabled me to shelter her. She has been 
safe with us for all these years, has studied the high-school 
standard, has been trained as a kindergartner, and is doing 
splendid work in the school, and supporting her mother 

We apply the kindergarten system through the whole 
course of the school. It is not confined to the little children 
alone. We receive girls of all ages from five to twenty-five. 
They have learned much in their own homes that is not 


suitable for school life, and they have to unlearn it at 
school. That is very difficult ; but we have to try to accom- 
plish it, in order to teach them anything new. In this the 
kindergarten system helps us a great deal. Their minds 
are dull, and they take no interest in anything around 
them. They are not alive to anything excepting household 
work and their own little selves. Selfishness is the ruling 
power in India, and that has been the cause of the down- 
fall of the nation. The first thing for us to do, in order ta 
bring them out of this dulness and selfishness, is to awaken 
an interest in their minds in everything around them. We 
have a beautiful garden in our compound, where they are 
taken to see the flowers and birds. The little songster 
who comes to us every spring and sings for a whole hour 
every morning teaches them to sing praises to God, and 
that is a good school lesson. Then we have animals for 
pets. The people of India are said to be worshippers of 
animals ; but dogs and cats are not worshipped, nor even 
kindly treated, and they have few animals in their houses. 
We have two good dogs who take care of the school, and 
who are the first to come at every sound of the bell that is 
rung for the girls to assemble. They have their part in 
teaching the girls to love and to be grateful. They love and 
are loved by the children. We teach the girls botany, and 
very soon they begin to take an interest in what they see 
about them. Good pictures, which many of you have given 
to me, and many little things which I was able to take from 
different parts of this country and from other countries, 
help to awaken interest in their minds. 

The girls are not allowed to grumble, but are taught to 
thank God for everything they get. That is the first lesson 
they learn in the school. And, while they have never been 
loved by anybody, in the school they find love and refine- 
ment and everything that can help them. I am not prais- 
ing this school because some human body has started it, 
but because God is working there. The glory is His, and not 


The next thing we teach them is physiology, — a good thing 
for Hindus to learn; for, as you know, the people of India 
have been taught from their earliest years to despise their 
bodies. You can never imagine what that means. As a 
child, I was taught to despise my body as a burden ; and for 
that I have suffered a great deal. In India they do not 
know how to honor their bodies as "temples of God." 
Physiology is not a part of the public-school system in my 
country ; but we think it is necessary for them to know the 
wonderful works of God. And we teach them scientific 
temperance. That is a monument to our beloved Frances 
Willard. We give them humane education. That is a 
monument to our dear friend Mr. Angell, God bless him ! 
Through him I learned what a good influence this has over 
children. In India, though people worship animals, they 
are not humane; and they treat animals most cruelly. And 
we give lessons in calisthenics and in singing, though 
women of good family are not allowed to sing in our coun- 
try. We have also a class for sewing, cutting, embroidery, 
and drawing. And we have to teach them to know the 
value of time, to keep order, cleanliness, manners, preserva- 
tion of health, having regular habits, caring for children,, 
care of sick people, cooking, housekeeping, and all kinds of 
housework and things that I have not time to tell. They 
are taught to think honest work honorable. Besides these 
we give them lessons in managing their own meetings. In 
other schools in India, so far as I know, there is very little 
public spirit among the girls. We have tried to encourage 
the development of public spirit among our girls, and to 
teach them to conduct their own meetings. They have a 
Woman's Christian Temperance Union and a Christian 
Endeavor Society. They have learnt parliamentary rules 
in a simple form, so that they can elect members and 
officers in an orderly manner. 

And what shall I say of the religious policy of the 
school ? When I began this work in this country, I told 


you, in as plain English as I could, that the school would be 
entirely unsectarian. By this I did not mean that it would 
be an irreligious school. You know I did not mean that. 
We do not want any irreligious institutions in India. They 
are doing a great deal of harm there. We have tried to keep 
that school secular : we have not made it a religious school. 
No kind of religious training is compulsory. We do not 
teach the Bible or the Vedas to the girls. But, as I told 
you at the beginning, I put the Bible and the Vedas to- 
gether on the shelves of the school library, and let the girls 
read for themselves, if they have the wish to. We give them 
all liberty to keep their caste and customs, and we have 
made all arrangements for it. They are not prevented from 
praying to their own gods nor from wearing those gods 
around their necks, if they want to ; and some girls in my 
school do so, as I used to do years ago. Do you think I 
have gone against the religion of the girls ? No, not in any 
way. I have not taught the girls any religious system. 
If they wanted any religious training, they might go out 
of the school, to the missionary or to the Hindu teacher. 
But I am glad to say that some light came to them, — not 
from ourselves, but from God. I was a Christian woman ; 
and I had a home of my own, and a daughter for whom I 
thought I must make a home. I had made the resolution 
of Joshua, " As for me and my house, we will serve the 
Lord." That shall be my resolution to the end. I let my 
girls do what they like, but I have the freedom with which 
Christ has made me free ; and why should I keep my light 
under a bushel ? I do not mean to do it. When I had my 
family worship in my own room, not in the school hall, 
some of the girls began to come in ; and we gave them free- 
dom to come, if they wanted to. My Hindu brethren 
thought it was going too far, and that I was Christianizing 
those girls. They wanted me to shut my room when I was 
reading the Bible and praying. I said. No, I have the 
same freedom to practise Christianity which these girls 


have to practise their religion. Why should I shut the 
door of my room, which I do not shut at any other time 
during the twenty-four hours of the day ? The Hindu 
friends were much offended at it, and wanted to pull our 
school down, and raise another school on its ruins ; but I 
am glad to say that the foundations of this school have not 
been set on the sand, but on the eternal rock, and it stands 
there to this day, and it will stand for ever and ever. 

So those girls who wanted to come to the light came ; and,, 
though we never preached Christianity, they read the Bible 
for themselves. They compared the Bible with the Hindu re- 
ligion ; and, like good, sensible girls, they knew how to dis- 
cern between good and bad. They have accepted what they 
thought best. Forty-eight of our girls have been brave 
enough to be publicly baptized and become Christians ; 
and glory be to God for that ! I think this is the best result 
of the school. We started an unsectarian school, and an 
unsectarian school it shall be to the end; but such must be 
the result of the shining light that comes from Heaven. 

And the converted, girls have been trying to shine in their 
way. Twenty-three of them are voluntary Christian workers. 
In our country we do not have many such workers. They 
have a Christian Endeavor Society, a Temperance Union, 
as I have said, and a King's Daughters' Club, to commemo- 
rate our first President. They undertake also to nurse the 
sick pupils, thus saving us the expense of bringing nurses 
from outside ; and they work cheerfully and gladly. They 
also divide the school work among themselves, and have 
done what would have cost us many rupees if we had hired 
servants to do it. And during the last year, when three 
hundred famine girls — their sisters and ours — came to us for 
life and for salvation, thirty-five of our old girls took charge 
of them as kindly and affectionately as their own mothers 
and sisters could do, and saved nearly two thousand dollars 
by constantly working for the new-comers. 

We have purchased a farm, as you know, about thirty-four 


miles from the school. You sent me nearly five thousand 
dollars for it. The money has not been spent in vain ; for 
the farm has been a great blessing to us, and I hope will be 
in the future. It has sheltered more thaij three hundred 
;girls, and it is supplying vegetables ; and I hope it will be 
.able to supply fruit in the future. You hold a property in 
India, in the school of fifty thousand dollars and in the farm 
of ten thousand dollars. Out of the ninety-five thousand 
dollars you sent to me, sixty thousand are thus given back 
to you ; and I have spent the rest in raising up this family 
to rise up and call you blessed. 

Now what shall be the future of the school? There is 
nothing to regret ; and you have a property of sixty thousand 
dollars, and two schools with three hundred and eighty girls 
in them. What shall we do with these schools and this prop- 
erty ? The first thing I have. to tell you in this connection 
is that Ramabai is dead. The person who went in your stead 
is dead and gone. What will you do with the property? 
The first scholar of the school suggests that a new Associa- 
tion be formed. God gave me this morning a name for it, if 
you will adopt it. That is, the Faith, Hope, and Love As- 
sociation for the Emancipation of the High-caste Child- 
widows of India ; for nothing but faith and hope and love 
will redeem India. Do not concentrate your interest in one 
person, for that person will die and be gone, as many have 
gone before ; but this Association must not die. It must be 
perpetually alive ; and how will it live but through faith, 
hope, and love? Let this new Association be organized 
right here, to go on working in the same old way. 

We want twenty thousand dollars a year. When I came 
here first, I only asked for five thousand ; and you gave me 
six thousand a year. Now my hopes and expectations are 
enlarged, and my ambition for my girls and for the elevation 
of the women of India prompts me to ask for great things. 
I believe, if we had not a single cent in hand, God would 
shower from heaven the funds we want. Last year God 


told me I must go into the Central Provinces of my country 
for the rescue of three hundred girls. I had eighty cents in 
my hand ; and I said, Where shall I get the money ? But 
He said, "Go on, and money will come." You know the 
result. The Father sent thirty thousand dollars in that year. 
He is as rich to-day ; and He will send us twenty thousand 
dollars, not for one year or two or ten, but so long as India 
and its needs exist. 

We are not to take thought for to-morrow. We are only 
to do His work faithfully, " Seek ye first the kingdom of 
God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be 
added unto you." 

You tell me that you are very busy, and your interests are 
divided; and some of you say that you are very old and 
cannot work any longer. You have many poor people to 
help, and many widows and deserted wives, I suppose ; but 
our needs are greater. Are you too busy to pray for us ? 
No, because you are members of that royal priesthood whose 
privilege and right it is to pray for us. Why can you not 
work for us ? Yes, you can work for us, and you will. And 
what about old age ? Just about the time I started from 
India I was getting very tired, and wishing to rush out from 
the school and give up the work. I thought I too was get- 
ting too old, and could not stand it. But the Father told me 
to go and read the Bible ; and in Saint Luke's Gospel I 
found the story of a prophetess who is called Anna, — Mrs. 
Anna, the prophetess, let us call her, — and the Bible says 
she worked for eighty-four years, and did not give up her 
good work in the temple service all that time. And God 
said to me, " If you live to be that age, you must work till 
then. " And I bring that same message to you, my dear 
friends ; and it is a glorious thing for you to look for. 

I am glad, dear sisters and friends, to thank you for 
everything you have done ; to thank most gratefully my dear 
friend. Miss Granger, who has worked so hard for eleven 
years ; and our President here ; and our old President, who 


is absent to-day. I must be thanking you all my life, and' 
thanking God for everything He has helped you to do. 

At the conclusion of Ramabai's address, Mr. Hagar, of 
the Board of Trustees, offered the following four motions^ 
and they were unanimously carried : — 

1. That the Association be dissolved; and that the President or 
either of the Vice-Presidents be authorized, when the time is ripe 
therefor, in the name and behalf of the Association, to institute and 
prosecute such legal or other proceedings as may be necessary or 
proper to secure the dissolution of the corporation, and in such pro- 
ceedings to employ counsel and to sign all papers and to do all acts 
that may be necessary or proper to secure such dissolution. But that 
such dissolution shall not be effected till a new organization has been 
formed to carry on Ramabai's work in India. 

2. That all the real estate of the Association, consisting of land and 
buildings in Poona, India, be conveyed to Ramabai, with a view to its 
application by her to the purposes of the Association, the conveyance, 
however, to be absolute, and not to create any legal trust ; and that the 
President or either of the Vice-Presidents be authorized, in the name 
and behalf of the Association, to sign any and all deeds, powers of 
attorney, and other instruments necessary or proper to accomplish such 
conveyance, to affix the Association's seal to the same, to acknowledge 
and deliver the same, and to do all acts that may be necessary or proper 
to effectually convey the real estate as aforesaid. 

3. That all the personal property of the corporation, including 
money, beyond what is required to pay debts, past or future, and to pay 
the expenses of dissolving the corporation, be paid, assigned, trans- 
ferred, and delivered to Ramabai, for the purposes of the corporation, 
but without the creation of a legal trust ; and that the Treasurer be 
authorized to pay, assign, transfer, and deliver said personal property 
to Ramabai, as aforesaid, and, in the name and behalf of the Associa- 
tion, to sign, seal, acknowledge, and deliver all instruments, and to do 
all acts necessary or proper to accomplish this result. 

4. That the Treasurer be authorized and requested to give, in the 
name and behalf of the Association, written notice to Ramabai that she 
is no longer authorized to contract any debt in the name or behalf of 
the Association ; and also to give a similar written notice to any per- 
sons, who may be known to the officers of the Association, and with 
whom she has habitually so contracted debts. 


Dr. Abbott. — Some of us are undoubtedly older than we 
were ten years ago, and we are not able to take up and 
carry on this work as we did. But we must not forget that 
the children who were fifteen years old ten years ago are 
twenty-five years old now, and able to take up this work as 
they could not do ten years ago. We forget sometimes that 
other folks have been growing old also ; and, while we have 
been growing less inclined to take up work, other people 
are more inclined to do so. We want to secure in this new 
organization enough to connect it with the old, and enough 
to give it new blood and new life for the future. 

For my part, it seems to me that the hope of raising 
twenty thousand dollars a year now is a great deal better 
than the hope of raising five thousand dollars a year was 
ten years ago. When Ramabai came here with simply a 
vision to set before us, it did require some faith in her to 
believe that there was anything in it. But now we see that 
there is something in it, that a great deal has been accom- 
plished ; and, unless I am greatly mistaken, more persons 
will be found ready to take hold of a work that has attested 
itself than there were ten years ago to work for a vision 
which had yet to be tested. 

Add to this two other conditions. There is an increase 
of interest in India. I am very glad that missionaries are 
coming from India to this country. The more they put the 
Vedantic philosophy and the Hindu religion before us, the 
better I like it. I have not the slightest fear of what will 
be the result. Put them side by side, and it will be seen 
that Christianity meets the wants of the human race as no 
other religion ever does or can. 

In the second place, there is a growing interest in our 
country, I think, in undenominational work. We have been 
coming more and more to see that Christianity is broader 
than any sect. We have been learning something in the 
last ten years, — all of us. And I believe that to-day a pro- 
foundly religious movement, a profoundly Christian move- 


ment, that is broader and larger than any sect or denomi- 
nation, will appeal to a great many more hearts and lives 
than twenty-five years ago or even ten years ago. 

I confess I am glad that I had the good fortune to meet 
Pundita Ramabai ten years ago, and that I had the privi- 
lege of having a share in the very beginning of this enter- 
prise. I like, as well as any one, perhaps, to come into a 
successful enterprise when it has been fully achieved and 
is going on prosperously. But I do also like to help rock 
the cradle of a baby enterprise. I am glad to be permitted 
to have a share with Ramabai in the attempt to make this 
new enterprise celebrate the ten years which have passed. 
The best way to celebrate a good work in the past is to do 
a better work in the future ; and I hope that this meeting 
will celebrate the good ten years past by a better work in 
ten years that are to come. n 

I suggest the appointment of a committee of three with 
power to enlarge its own numbers, to appoint a committee 
to confer with Ramabai, and co-operate with her in the for- 
mation of a new organization. 

Dr. Donald moved the appointment of such a committee, 
and spoke to the motion as follows : It would be a calamity 
— and, worse, a stigma upon America — if we should, by 
inaction at the present moment, allow this work to receive 
any damage. We have been entirely successful in a demon- 
stration. Ten years ago Ramabai demonstrated to us that 
something needed to be done ; and in the last ten years she 
has demonstrated that it could be done. We are con- 
fronted, therefore, with this position of affairs, — that, after 
having had the need of a thing demonstrated, and the 
fact that it could be met, there is a possibility that we 
may recede. I do not believe, I will not believe, that 
Christian people in America are going to recede from the 
work which they have had in hand for these ten years. 

I do not believe it, because I believe that, while there is 
less ecclesiasticism, there is a great deal more religion, 


more of the life of Jesus Christ and of His spirit in the 
hearts and lives of people to-day than there was ten 
years ago. Because I believe that, I do not believe that 
this work is to receive any damage. It is going on. And, 
therefore, I hope that this committee which is to be ap- 
pointed will not be a perfunctory committee, to hold a burial 
service over the cadaver of the old Association, but that its 
appointment will rather be like a trumpet summoning the 
people of Boston and the people of America to continue the 
noble, the heroic work of Ramabai. We may. undertake 
reforms in foreign countries at the peril of peace in 
America, and we know only too well what it means to be 
hampered in the prosecution of them by diplomatic consid- 
erations. But, thank God, this particular reform in a 
foreign land can be prosecuted without the slightest fear 
of anything like foreign complications or entanglements. 
God Almighty has made the path as plain as Beacon Street ; 
and, if we do not walk in it, it is because our feet are not 
shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. 

Miss Stewart, of Philadelphia. — I want to enter a 
strong protest against the moving of the headquarters to 
New York or Philadelphia, The tree was planted here in 
Boston : and everybody recognizes the admirable growth it 
has attained here, and has admired the way in which both 
the business side and the spiritual side have been carried 
on.^ It would be a great mistake to think of moving it to 
New York or Philadelphia, admirable as those cities are, 
and grandly as they are doing their work. 

Dr. Abbott said that he agreed entirely with the speaker. 
He then introduced Rev. Dr. George A. Gordon, who spoke 
as follows : — 

Dr. Gordon. — I had the honor of saying a word in this 
hall ten years ago, when this Association was formed. I 
have been a not very faithful officer during the entire 
period. I have had great admiration for those who have 
been faithful. We cannot appreciate too highly the intelli- 


gent, faithful, efficient work which the Executive Committee 
of the Association has performed. 

All the difficulties which this movement has developed 
have been from the power of a growing religion. Most of 
our difficulties are of the other kind. Difficulties of this 
kind create their own solution. Nobody could have been 
present here this afternoon, with any heart or spiritual 
sense, and not believe that this thing is going on. As Dr. 
Abbott has said, the religious spirit is overflowing the 
bounds of all denominations ; and, as Dr. Donald has said, 
religion is on the increase in spite of or with the aid of 
ecclesiasticism. This movement, which has religion at its 
heart, will command new helpers, new supporters, and will 
gather with every month fresh inspiration. 

I agree with those who think that, inasmuch as it was 
planned here, inasmuch as so much has been done here for 
it, it should be reorganized here and carried on from this 
centre. I am sure, if I were a member of the Executive 
Committee, I should want to be released from the labor 
which had been thrown upon me during these ten years. 
But I think the Executive Committee are patient enough 
to carry out Dr. Abbott's suggestion to connect the new time 
with the old, and to see to it that before any single soul 
lays down its load of care the new movement is fairly 
started, — according to Ramabai, on its endless future. 

The question then being put, the motion was unanimously 

Dr. Abbott appointed Mrs. George A. Gordon, Mrs. J. W. 
Andrews, and Mrs. J. S. Copley Greene to act as the 

After a benediction by Dr. Gordon the meeting ad- 



Resolved^ That to Rev. E. E. Hale, D.D., the first Presi- 
dent of the Ramabai Association, who is unavoidably ab- 
sent from its final meeting, be sent our regrets, our cordial 
greetings, and our grateful thanks for the loyal service he 
rendered to Ramabai and to the Association during the 
first five years of its existence. 

Whereas we miss to-day the familiar face of one who was 
never before absent from a meeting of this Association, 
who, as a trustee and a member of the Executive Commit- 
tee, has been ever faithful to her duties and to Ramabai, — 

Resolved^ That a message of sympathy be sent to Miss 
Phebe G. Adam, in her illness and enforced absence, with 
the hope that she may soon resume some of the good works 
to which she has freely devoted years of time, thought, and 


Article I. The members of this Association shall be such 
persons as shall pledge themselves to the payment of not less 
than one dollar per year for a period of ten years. The annual 
payment of one hundred dollars for ten years shall consttute a 
scholarship. Every member shall be entitled to vote iat the 
annual meeting. 

Art. II. The various Ramabai Circles which have been or 
may be formed throughout the country may become branches of 
this Association. Any member of such branches, pledging the 
payment of not less than one dollar per year for ten years, shall 
be a member of this Association, and shall be entitled to vote at 
the annual meeting. 

Art. III. The officers of this Association shall consist of a 
President, not less than three Vice-Presidents, a Treasurer, a 
Recording Secretary, a Corresponding Secretary, a Board of not 
less than seven trustees, an Executive Committee consisting of 
not less than seven persons, and an Advisory Board of three 
members in India. All said officers shall be elected at the 
annual meeting, and shall hold their offices until others are 
elected and qualified in their stead. Any vacancies occurring in 
any of the offices of this Association may be filled by the Execu- 
tive Committee. 

Art. IV. The Board of Trustees shall manage and control all 
the property and affairs of the Association, 

Art. V. The annual meeting of the Association shall be held 
in March of each year at such time and place in Boston, Mass. 
as the President shall appoint. 

Art. VI. The Board of Trustees shall meet semi-annually at 
such time and place as its Chairman shall appoint. The Execu- 
tive Committee shall meet monthly at such time and place as its 
Chairman shall appoint. This Committee shall attend to all the 
business details of the Association, and report to the Board of 
Trustees as often as such Board shall direct. It shall also make 
an annual report to the Association. Special meetings of the 
Board of Trustees or of the Executive Committee may be called 
by their respective Chairman, when necessary. 

Art. VII. Th>5 Advisory Board shall report to the Trustees 
upon such matters as may seem to them important, and upon such 
special matters as may be referred to them by the Association or 
by the Board of Trustees or by the Executive Committee. 

Art. VIII. These By-laws may be amended at the annual 
meeting of the Association or at any meeting called for the pur- 
pose, by a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting. 

i*f • ;